Kyrgyzstan refused to negotiate with the Tajik side? Not true
Information that, according to the Tajik border guards of the SNSC, the Kyrgyz military attacked residential areas and set fire to houses in Isfara appeared on the website of the Tajik news agency Asia-Plus.
The publication also said that Tajik border troops accused the Kyrgyz side of ignoring cease-fire and peaceful negotiations proposals. In addition to Asia-Plus, many Russian media outlets disseminated the news that Kyrgyzstan was refusing to negotiate, at the instigation of the Tajik border service.
A picture of a burnt house was used as an illustration. The caption states that this is the damaged house in Chorkukh Jamoat of Isfara during the conflict in 2021.
Factcheck.kg editorial board has checked these claims.
Manipulation with the photo
First of all, it is important to note the use of an archive photo of the destroyed house. In this case, the use of this image serves as a tool of manipulation, causing an aggressive reaction from the reader and setting up a certain perception of further information.
We remind you that we have already previously refuted Tajik media’s claims about destroyed buildings in Histevarz during the border conflict in 2021. Factcheck.kg journalists proved that all the destroyed buildings, which were passed off as Tajik ones, turned out to be on Kyrgyz territory. As a result, Sputnik-Tajikistan resource would have been forced to correct the headline from “Histevarz – the most affected city” to “Histevarz – the least affected city”. Nevertheless, at that time those publications caused a wave of indignation and negativity among social media users.
Shelling of Tajik villages
The statement about Kyrgyz armed forces shelling Tajik border villages with all types of heavy equipment and firearms made by the press center of the Border Troops of the SNSC of Tajikistan is partially confirmed by reports of the Border Guard Service of the SNSC of Kyrgyzstan.
According to reports from Kyrgyz Border Guard Service, Tajik soldiers open fire from the settlements of border villages, thereby causing retaliatory fire on their positions. Using their civilians as a human shield, the Tajik side suffers civilian casualties.
Referring to the shelling of Tajik villages, the news agency uses a method of manipulation called half-truths. When describing the shelling of Tajik settlements by the Kyrgyz military, not a word was said about the shelling of Kyrgyz territory in Eki-Tash, Chir-Dobo, Kum-Mazar, Orto-Boz Kulundu, Maksat, Jany-Jer. The fact that MLRS were fired at the surroundings of Batken airport and civilian infrastructure on the outskirts of Batken.
In addition to the shelling of Kyrgyz villages, the Tajik military has seized a school in Ak-Sai village.
Who is actually refusing to negotiate?
The press centre of the border guards of the SNSC of Tajikistan reported that the Tajik side carried out a unilateral cease-fire and offered to start negotiations twice on September 16, at 06:30 am and 07:30 am, but the Kyrgyz military ignored those proposals and continued to fire.
But is this true?
On September 14, at 4:20 pm, delegations of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan headed by leaders of Batken region of Kyrgyzstan and Sughd region of Tajikistan met in the area of Radar of Batken district. The meeting was attended by border guards of both sides, heads of security and law enforcement agencies and district administrations of the two republics.
But on September 16, in violation of the agreement, at 06:00 am the Tajik side again started shooting at the Kyrgyz Republic State Committee for National Security border guard and Kyrgyz army positions in the areas of Eki Tash, Chyr Dobo, Kum Mazar and Orto Boz with firearms and crew-served weapons. At 06:30 am, the Tajik side started mortar fire at the Kok-Tash border guard outpost of the Batken Border Guard Unit.
On September 16, Major General Ularbek Sharsheyev, director of the State Border Guard Service of the Kyrgyz Republic, and Colonel General Rajabali Rakhmonali, commander of the Border Guard Troops of the SNSС of Tajikistan, held telephone conversations in order to stop the fire and prevent the conflict from escalating.
In the course of negotiations, the heads of the border guard agencies agreed to a ceasefire from 10:00 am to have a meeting. However, the Tajik side continued shelling Kyrgyz positions. Starting from 8:30 am, the Border Guard Service of the SNSC of the Kyrgyz Republic demanded a ceasefire and negotiations. But neither at 8:30 am nor at 10:00 am did the Tajik side carry out he agreements.
On September 16, CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas and Secretaries of the Security Councils of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Marat Imankulov and Nasrullo Mahmudzoda in a telephone conversation talked about an immediate ceasefire on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border. This was reported by the press service of the organization’s secretariat.
On September 16, the State Border Guard Service of the Kyrgyz Republic made an official statement that the heads of the special services of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Kamchybek Tashiev and Saimumin Yatimov, had agreed to a ceasefire from 4 pm.
On September 16, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov met with the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the city of Samarkand. The sides discussed the situation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik section of the state border. The leaders of the two countries agreed to instruct the relevant agencies about the ceasefire and withdrawal of forces and equipment from the line of contact. Kamchybek Tashiyev, deputy head of the Cabinet of Ministers and chairman of the SNSC of Kyrgyzstan, and Saimumin Yatimov, chairman of the SNSC of Tajikistan, will work on site and a commission will be established to investigate the circumstances and causes of the incident.
Conclusion: untruth and manipulation. Statements by the press service of the border guards of the SNSС of Tajikistan do not correspond to reality. On September 16 alone, while the Tajik border guards and the Tajik and Russian media were spreading false information, negotiations between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan took place four times. And each time, Kyrgyzstan spoke in favor of an immediate ceasefire.